Lutz Plans To Take Men’s Basketball Program to NCAA Again

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Sophomore center Connor Kern blocks senior forward Isaac Mushila from rebounding the ball. Photo by Gabriella Ruiz

Gabriella Ruiz, Reporter/Sports Editor

Two different basketball players on court
Head coach Steve Lutz watches senior guard Jalen Jackson and senior guard Terrion Murdix play against each other during practice. Photo by Gabriella Ruiz

Within his first season with the Islanders, new head coach Steve Lutz led Texas A&M University-Corpus men’s basketball program to make history by advancing to the NCAA Division I Tournament a.k.a. the Big Dance for the first time in 15 years for the 2021-2022 season. 

The Islanders are ready to get a taste of the NCAA Tournament again to win games for the 2022-2023 season with adding newcomers and returners to the roster. 

“It meant the world to me, and to our team and staff,” head coach Steve Lutz said. “That’s obviously your goal every year, to go to the NCAA Tournament. Anytime you work hard for something and you get rewarded, it’s a pretty special feeling.” 

Last season, the program went 23-12 overall and 7-7 in conference play. Not only did the men’s basketball program go to the NCAA but they also won the Southland Conference Tournament trophy.

Trevian Tennyson, senior guard returner, addressed how he didn’t feel that his team played up to their standards in the NCAA and how they didn’t go as far as they wanted. Tennyson spoke on how with being a Division I school, the competition this year has the same level of talent and he wants to make it back to March Madness with his team.

“We’re going to make a run on March Madness,” Tennyson said. “We’re going to compete really hard.” 

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Redshirt freshman forward Owen Dease attempts to shoot and score at practice. Photo by Gabriella Ruiz

Coach Lutz said how having experienced players helps teams win and by adding new faces to the team allows them to have a better outcome by overcoming obstacles that may get in their way. He addressed how the schedule this season is tougher than it was last year by facing teams such as Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, UTEP, Arizona and more this season. 

With that being said, Lutz brought graduate student transfer from Colorado Christian Ross Williams to the team as he brings his talent and experience to TAMU-CC. 

“It’s a lot of fun just getting to know my teammates,” Williams said. “It’s a good culture to be around. I’m really enjoying my time down here and it’s a great family atmosphere. We’re really trying to achieve that final goal of making it back to the tournament and putting in our talents on display.” 

For this season, coach Lutz hopes to improve in taking care of the ball better and focus on working on fixing their turnovers. “They give it their effort pretty much everyday,” Lutz said. “I think they’ll continue to make all of the Islanders in and around the city and Coastal Bend proud.” 

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Guard graduate student Ross Williams throws the ball to his teammate. Photo by Gabriella Ruiz

Isaac Mushila, senior forward returner, spoke on how his team tried their best by making it to the NCAA and this year they are hoping to win more games this season. Mushila addressed how they need to practice hard, hit the gym, and work on things they need to be ready for the season to begin. 

“The expectations are high,” Mushila said. “We had a good season last year and we just want to come out and put our heart in it.” 

The Islanders will kick off the season by traveling to Mississippi on Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m. to face Mississippi State to begin their regular season. Their first home opener will be Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. against UTSA. 

Sources:

https://goislanders.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster?path=mbball